Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Mordecai

The Lincoln Hypothesis

Recommended Posts

I haven't been on this board for a long time, but I just finished reading _The Lincoln Hypothesis_, and I was wondering how many others had and how many others were persuaded of the truth of the author's inferences. Just a few claims from the book: Abraham Lincoln checked out the Book of Mormon and read it, leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln's son died, and he began carrying around a pocket New Testament. He used a term from the BoMormon: "instrument in the hands of God," on at least five different occasions, to describe himself after having read the BoMormon. Lincoln returned the BoMormon to the Library of Congress only a week after he signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln's first name, Abraham, was not a coincidence, just as Joseph Smith's name was not a coincidence. Lincoln had his own Hyrum, who was a target of an assassination attempt along with Lincoln. A miracle occurred after Lincoln covenanted with God that he would commit the United States to liberty, giving the North its first major victory. One Congressman said Lincoln's face "shined like a prophet," as he spoke of the North and South's need to repent and how God's will was that we have a land of liberty. Multiple dog ears were found on Lincoln's BoMormon, marking a passage in Isaiah that suggested that God would heal the land after repentance. Lincoln, when he was sworn in for his second term, had his hand on that verse in Isaiah. Lastly, Joseph Smith specifically said we needed new Amendments to control mobs and end slavery, which is what Lincoln brought about. I think I got much of what I found persuasive listed. Anyone else read it? Should the Church be jumping on board this "hypothesis" and support that Lincoln was doing the work Joseph Smith failed at when he was running for President, i.e. bringing the U.S. to repentance via a covenant with God and special amendments to the Constitution? For a used copy: https://www.alibris.com/search/books/isbn/9781609078638

Edited by Mordecai
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Calm said:

I don't know the material well and am disappointed the writer didn't include examples, but given how much of the genre functions, I expect review is likely accurate.

If Ballard's claims are true, e.g. that Lincoln carried a pocket New Testament everywhere after his son died and his quoted speeches were _actually_ speeches by Lincoln given to Congress, it's clear that Lincoln did have a religious motivation to end slavery. Furthermore, Ballard quotes a noted historian on the "miracle" of winning at Antietum, that it was "one in a million." Prior to that, according to Ballard, Lincoln started talking emancipation and planning for it. Immediately afterward, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Also, it apparently _is_ a historical fact that Lincoln read the BoMormon and returned it after he signed the Emancipation Proclamation into Law. We can't say Lincoln was a Mormon. But the dog ears of the Isaiah verse in the BoMormon and his putting his hand on those verses for his second swearing in, is pretty striking. Isn't it possible that, while reading the BoMormon, those Isaiah verses jumped out to him? The review from By Common Dissent is _terrible_, in that, as you said, it doesn't address any specifics. Why not? I can't even be sure the reviewer read it, and he talks like he's incredibly elitist. That's exactly why I posted this here, to address _specifics_. I want someone to either confirm or refute the specifics in the book. If his claims of historical fact are true, Ballard's case is persuasive. The inferences aren't big leaps of faith. Only small ones. At least, if you're already Mormon. If you're not a Mormon, it's still a _very_ small leap of faith to believe Lincoln was motivated by a new found faith in Christianity, to end slavery. Why did he put his hand on those verses in Isaiah, if not? Even if that is all Ballard got right, that's really Mormon, that the land was healed, as the country committed itself to liberty.

"

"....It is for us the living... to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom...." --excerpt from The Gettysburg Address, basically calling for a covenant with God in honor of the dead, to dedicate ourselves to liberty in this nation

How is that not BoMormon theology of the promised land? Other than involving the dead, I suppose. But to commit or "be dedicated/resolve" that "...this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom..." sounds a whole lot like Lincoln purposely wanted to commit America to freedom "under God." Keep in mind that the Gettysburg Address was a _very_ short speech, with the most carefully worded message.

Edited by Mordecai
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
17 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

"The idea that he was a cryptoMormon is an incredible stretch based on a series of implausible connections. It makes a nice story but it is almost pure conjecture with almost nothing to support it.

Lincoln did undergo a kind of religious transformation in his career but to try to tie it to the Book of Mormon. A bridge too far......."

No one is claiming, not I nor Ballard, that Lincoln was a Mormon. Only that he may have been influenced by, in particular, the BoMormon _quoting Isaiah_. No one said he believed the BoMormon was true. Very interesting that the very page on which those verses are found, the page is dog eared multiple times. Those same verses, he swore upon in his second inauguration. Quite a coincidence. His repeated use of the term "instrument in the hands of God" is also notable. Lastly, it's interesting that only a week after signing the Emancipation Proclamation, he returned the book to the Library of Congress. Doesn't mean he believed the BoMormon was true. But he seems to have been influenced by it to a degree. It apparently helped persuade him to write Brigham Young, offering kind words, suggesting he thought the BoMormon represented more good than bad. Brigham Young himself took five years to join the Church, after having read the BoMormon. Obviously, in that case, the BoMormon influenced him without him believing it to be written by prophets, although it obviously influenced him. May have been similar with Lincoln, a good man, who clearly did God's work. Why wouldn't the BoMormon influence him, in at least subtle ways?

Edited by Mordecai
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
1 minute ago, Mordecai said:

No one is claiming, not I nor Ballard, that Lincoln was a Mormon. Only that he may have been influenced by, in particular, the BoMormon _quoting Isaiah_. No one said he believed the BoMormon was true.

Still incredibly tenuous. Saying he quoted the Book of Mormon's Isaiah is a stretch. It is more likely he just read the Old Testament Isaiah.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

"so, it apparently _is_ a historical fact that Lincoln read the BoMormon"

I have checked many books out of the library I never read.

Lincoln was not the only one to check out that BoM, in all the years it was there it was much more likely another reader dogeared that than him.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

"On November 18, 1861, the Executive Mansion borrowed the following books from the Library of Congress: The Works of Victor Hugo, John Gunnison’s The Mormons or Latter Day Saints, John Hyde’s Mormonism: Its Leaders and Designs, and the Book of Mormon. Four days later, the White House requested, among other items, Mormonism in All Ages by Julian M. Sturtevant and Memoirs of the Life and Death of Joseph Smith by Henry Maheur. Lincoln kept the Book of Mormon for eight months before returning it.[78] His reasons (or those of his staff) for requesting these items are not explained in the documentary record; however, the president was considering the appointment of a new territorial governor for Utah and Utah’s most recent petition for statehood.[79]"  

Apparently the Hugo book was in French, which Lincoln couldn't read.  (From New York Times article iirc)  It would be interesting to know when he returned the other items, at the same time or not.

https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/civil-war-saints/abraham-lincoln-and-mormons

Do we know for sure the books were for Lincoln and not his wife or someone else?

Edited by Calm
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
6 hours ago, Calm said:

" It would be interesting to know when he returned the other items, at the same time or not... Do we know for sure the books were for Lincoln and not his wife or someone else?

Indeed it would be. That would be telling. I believe the BoMormon was checked out, so Lincoln could understand Mormons, as their loyalty to the U.S. was questioned and their settlement in Utah was a concern. As I pointed out, Lincoln contacted Brigham Young with a friendly letter. Good indication he read the BoMormon and likely was happy about the pro-liberty message.

Edited by Mordecai

Share this post


Link to post
17 hours ago, Mordecai said:

Indeed it would be. That would be telling. I believe the BoMormon was checked out, so Lincoln could understand Mormons, as their loyalty to the U.S. was questioned and their settlement in Utah was a concern. As I pointed out, Lincoln contacted Brigham Young with a friendly letter. Good indication he read the BoMormon and likely was happy about the pro-liberty message.

What friendly letter?

I must have missed it as it is hard to read your comments for me since they are in block format.  Some spacing here and there would help.

I did a page "find" on "letter" and only see a reference in this last post.

From what .I remember, Lincoln's comment about Brigham Young was 'l will leave you alone if you leave me alone'.  I don't consider that friendly.

Share this post


Link to post

He also had no problem it appears with signing the antipolygamy Morrill Bill into law.

Share this post


Link to post
On 9/24/2017 at 3:12 PM, Mordecai said:

I haven't been on this board for a long time, but I just finished reading _The Lincoln Hypothesis_, ........................................

Haven't read it, but am fully aware that Lincoln had said of the Mormons, that he would wait until after the Civil War to deal with them.  The way he put it was that he would plow around that stump for now and remove it later.  That did not bode well for the Mormons.

https://books.google.com/books?id=nWGoZvF42W8C&pg=PA97&lpg=PA97&dq=lincoln,+plow+around+that+mormon+stump&source=bl&ots=uMYQHwvUhe&sig=YVinCsWntwzQcwrkeXMnERkFuhs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjZ6s3ChMPWAhVK6GMKHVLUCDUQ6AEILDAB#v=onepage&q=lincoln%2C plow around that mormon stump&f=false .

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I have read this book. I thought it was quite impressive.

However, my father, who is an American Civil War expert, was totally unimpressed by it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
On 9/25/2017 at 6:57 PM, Calm said:

What friendly letter?

I must have missed it as it is hard to read your comments for me since they are in block format.  Some spacing here and there would help.

I did a page "find" on "letter" and only see a reference in this last post.

From what .I remember, Lincoln's comment about Brigham Young was 'l will leave you alone if you leave me alone'.  I don't consider that friendly.

I read _message_ as "letter," when I read the book. Friendly, in the sense that Brigham Young had previously called Lincoln a "scoundrel," that the Republican platform had been to weed out one of the two "vestiges of savagery," i.e. polygamy and considering that about that same time, Lincoln appointed a Mormon-friendly governor over Utah. I figure, while the Civil War obviously would have turned away hostility from the Mormons and Lincoln probably believed at least some of the lies about Mormons, the war probably humbled him as well. That and the death of his dearest son and his turning to the New Testament.

In response to another reply above, the idea that Lincoln knew the "healing the land" passage in Isaiah from the _Bible_ may not have been terribly likely. Lincoln was not known as terribly religious prior to becoming President. But after the death of his son, again, he carried around a pocket _New Testament_. Not an OT. I don't know that he was studying the OT at any time near his second inauguration. But he was one of the very few who checked out that BoMormon with the thrice dog-eared page in 2nd Nephi.

Share this post


Link to post
7 hours ago, Alan said:

I have read this book. I thought it was quite impressive.

However, my father, who is an American Civil War expert, was totally unimpressed by it.

What was his criticism, I wonder? Didn't you think the inferences were fairly logical, as long as you didn't take it too far? Lincoln was called, "Father Abraham," by the troops. The death of his son. His putting his hand on that verse in Isaiah at his 2nd inauguration. Talking like a prophet, after having previously been very skeptical of religion. He even prophesied, at one point, if you remember, to one of his generals. Points to a divine calling to me. He did carry out the work Joseph Smith was supposed to, i.e. fix the Constitution to control mobs and end slavery.

Edited by Mordecai
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
On 9/28/2017 at 11:25 AM, Alan said:

I have read this book. I thought it was quite impressive.

However, my father, who is an American Civil War expert, was totally unimpressed by it.

It would be nice if it were true.  It may be just another faith producing rumor.  But when you look at the greatness of what Abraham Lincoln accomplished (similar to the Abrahamic covenant, This Nation Under God will have a new burst of freedom.)  Then, shortly after signing the EP, he apparently died a martyr and sealed his testimony with his blood.  He did some great things.  You can't take that away from him.

Edited by Meerkat
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
On 9/25/2017 at 7:57 PM, Calm said:

What friendly letter?

I must have missed it as it is hard to read your comments for me since they are in block format.  Some spacing here and there would help.

I did a page "find" on "letter" and only see a reference in this last post.

From what .I remember, Lincoln's comment about Brigham Young was 'l will leave you alone if you leave me alone'.  I don't consider that friendly.

Given the context of the conversation as I recall it, and given the political tenor of times, I consider it reassuring if not friendly.

LIncoln had signed an anti-polygamy bill. In a subsequent conversation with an emissary from Utah (John M. Bernhisel, if I recall correctly), Lincoln reportedly said: ""When I was a boy on the farm in Illinois, there was a great deal of timber on the farm which we had to clear away. Occasionally we would come to a log which had fallen down. It was too hard to split, too wet to burn, and too heavy to move, so we plowed around it. You go back and tell Brigham Young that if he will let me alone I will let him alone."

In other words, if the Mormons did not go out of their way to make political trouble for the U.S. president, he would leave them unmolested.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
On 9/26/2017 at 8:15 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

Haven't read it, but am fully aware that Lincoln had said of the Mormons, that he would wait until after the Civil War to deal with them.  The way he put it was that he would plow around that stump for now and remove it later.  That did not bode well for the Mormons.

Worth noting the Republican party was formed with their first policy plank to eliminate the twin evils of polygamy and slavery. As bad as Buchanan was with the Utah War (which arguably contributed to the Civil War) it's possible things could have been worse. Certainly Brigham Young and company saw it that way with a lot of heated anti-Lincoln rhetoric. 

Now honestly had Lincoln lived Utah would have been the least of his worried given how reconstruction went. So I doubt Republicans would have done much. But who knows?

Anyway it's always funny to me to see these books making Lincoln a proto-saint to a crypto-saint when the contemporary views of him were so opposite. This ends up causing no end of tension for a certain kind of literalism that wants to see the founders and great leaders not as useful for the Lord (like Cyrus) but as kind of saintly near prophets. There's even a few private schools in Utah that teach with more or less that basis. It's bad history of course - both Mormon and American. I don't quite get the inclination - especially given the obvious weaknesses in the early Republic on things like slavery. But many have it. It's not enough to be great I guess. One has to be saintly. But anyone who's read their history know they aren't.

On 3/4/2018 at 4:29 PM, Scott Lloyd said:

In other words, if the Mormons did not go out of their way to make political trouble for the U.S. president, he would leave them unmolested.

The problem with such statements of course is that while it may well have reflected Lincoln's inclination it didn't necessarily reflect the views of everyone in his party. And as many a President have found out, they don't have as much power as they may wish. Further leaders have to do trades to get what they want. Even had Lincoln survived he most likely would't have stuck his neck out for a despised minority not exactly respecting federal authority.

 

Edited by clarkgoble
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

Anyway it's always funny to me to see these books making Lincoln a proto-saint to a crypto-saint when the contemporary views of him were so opposite. This ends up causing no end of tension for a certain kind of literalism that wants to see the founders and great leaders not as useful for the Lord (like Cyrus) but as kind of saintly near prophets. There's even a few private schools in Utah that teach with more or less that basis. It's bad history of course - both Mormon and American. I don't quite get the inclination - especially given the obvious weaknesses in the early Republic on things like slavery. But many have it. It's not enough to be great I guess. One has to be saintly. But anyone who's read their history know they aren't.

Like you said, a lot of this can be attributed to bad history, or more specifically, bad history classes in elementary, middle school, and high school.  People are taught a caricature of the most well known US presidents (Washington and the Cherry tree, for example) as children and they are attached to those, to the point that they resist any information that doesn't fit the mold.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
On 3/7/2018 at 10:59 AM, clarkgoble said:

The problem with such statements of course is that while it may well have reflected Lincoln's inclination it didn't necessarily reflect the views of everyone in his party. And as many a President have found out, they don't have as much power as they may wish. Further leaders have to do trades to get what they want. Even had Lincoln survived he most likely would't have stuck his neck out for a despised minority not exactly respecting federal authority.

 

I think it goes without saying that Lincoln's frame of reference was his own political sphere of influence, whatever it may have been. I still say Lincoln's remark was more benign that threatening, more conciliatory than hostile.

No, POTUS does not have absolute power, even within his own party, but he does have considerable power.

Share this post


Link to post

Out of curiosity, I went looking and ran across this treatise from the BYU Religious Studies Center by Mary Jane Woodger, "Abraham Lincoln and the Mormons." It is quite well researched and well thought out.

From the artcile's conclusion:
 

Quote

 

Lincoln had ties to the Mormons when they came to Illinois and continued to interact with them until he died after being shot in Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. In Illinois, Mormons were the clients, friends, and neighbors of his associates. It may never be known if his relationships with individual Mormons affected Lincoln personally or changed him or his views over time. If the Church headquarters had remained in Illinois, Lincoln’s political career, attitudes, and subsequent presidential decisions might have taken a different turn; but this hypothesis requires the double speculation that the Mormons themselves would have altered their behavior and approach to local politics in such a way that staying remained a possibility.

There is little evidence that the Mormons were ever more than a political object for Lincoln. We are aware of no documentation that Mormons, as individuals or as a group, affected his personal life. It seems likely that the explosive reaction to his “Rebecca” articles made him cautious about constructing public statements. Hence, it is difficult, if not impossible, to speculate on his personal reaction to the Church’s activities.

Mormons had a more direct relationship with Stephen A. Douglas, Lincoln’s chief opponent. Clearly documented, however, is Douglas’s later outspoken opposition to Mormonism while, in contrast, Lincoln as president maintained a “hands-off” stance—not enforcing the Morrill Act or imposing the draft—that gave the Church the time to establish strong communities in the Mountain West. This policy may owe less to Lincoln’s views on Mormonism, however, than the constant attention demanded by the Civil War.

Lincoln did not grant Utah’s petition for statehood, but numerous reasons seem more likely than dislike for Mormons. He did succeed in establishing a cooperative and respectful relationship between Utah and the federal government, an achievement predecessor James Buchanan had signally failed to do. Although there is no documentation on this point, Lincoln as an attorney may have been aware that statehood might make it difficult to repress polygamy, an action to which his party was politically committed.

For their part, Utahns during Lincoln’s presidency, except for some markedly acerbic private comments by Brigham Young early on, were appreciative and respectful. They recognized him as the nation’s chief executive, affiliated with the Union which he represented during the civil strife, and were grateful that he had defeated Douglas. Over the course of his presidency, their affection and admiration grew steadily. They celebrated his second inauguration and mourned his assassination.

Lincoln’s attitudes may have been formed by his dealings with Latter-day Saints on a personal level, but he was generally tolerant of all human beings. Holland observes:

All through his life Lincoln saw people as the same. He saw that human nature was relatively consistent wherever you were. If you saw significant differences in behavior, you should chalk things up primarily to the environment people were in and thus be quite generous in your assessments of others. All through his life he effectively said to the North: “Don’t get on your moral high horse. If you lived in the South, you would probably be proslavery too. There are such strong incentives financially; there is such a strong culture and tradition of it; be a little bit careful about being morally self-righteous.”[112]

In like manner, Lincoln may have felt that the culture and environment of Mormons rather than some moral degeneration in their character influenced them to live polygamy. Lincoln’s ability and predisposition to accept people not as “others” but as the “same” was extremely advantageous to the Mormon community. Lincoln seems to have accepted Mormons as part of the American whole, and his toleration had a distinctly positive influence on Mormon society during the Civil War period.


 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

.Now...why wasn't BY like this...Lincoln seems to hold a brighter candle compared to many

Share this post


Link to post

Question:

4 hours ago, Jeanne said:

.Now...why wasn't BY like this...Lincoln seems to hold a brighter candle compared to many

Answer:

6 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

All through his life he effectively said to the North: “Don’t get on your moral high horse. If you lived in the South, you would probably be proslavery too. There are such strong incentives financially; there is such a strong culture and tradition of it; be a little bit careful about being morally self-righteous.[112]

In like manner, Lincoln may have felt that the culture and environment of Mormons rather than some moral degeneration in their character influenced them to live polygamy. Lincoln’s ability and predisposition to accept people not as “others” but as the “same” was extremely advantageous to the Mormon community. Lincoln seems to have accepted Mormons as part of the American whole, and his toleration had a distinctly positive influence on Mormon society during the Civil War period.

Abraham Lincoln was a wise man who was attempting to keep peace with a nation falling apart at the seams.  He was a miracle man inhis own way.  He threaded that needle, brought peace and was a martyr for the government God set up to send forth the Gospel into all the world.  I believe the freedoms preserved for all these years were protected by the strength of his wisdom, personality and recognition of what America's potential was and is.

Brigham Young had a similar challenge, and helped settle the west by the strength of his personality and vision.  Different personalities.  Same calling-- to hold large, suffering bands of God's children together until the blessings were manifested.  Brigham Young and Abraham, although different in personality, were the same.

I believe, after all these years, Church membership is awakening to Lincoln's truth.  We are all God's children, and we should peacefully help each other along.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
16 minutes ago, Meerkat said:

Question:

Answer:

Abraham Lincoln was a wise man who was attempting to keep peace with a nation falling apart at the seams.  He was a miracle man inhis own way.  He threaded that needle, brought peace and was a martyr for the government God set up to send forth the Gospel into all the world.  I believe the freedoms preserved for all these years were protected by the strength of his wisdom, personality and recognition of what America's potential was and is.

Brigham Young had a similar challenge, and helped settle the west by the strength of his personality and vision.  Different personalities.  Same calling-- to hold large, suffering bands of God's children together until the blessings were manifested.  Brigham Young and Abraham, although different in personality, were the same.

I believe, after all these years, Church membership is awakening to Lincoln's truth.  We are all God's children, and we should peacefully help each other along.

Love this...and I agree...I hope that this is true for all people.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
On 9/24/2017 at 6:33 PM, Calm said:

"so, it apparently _is_ a historical fact that Lincoln read the BoMormon"

I have checked many books out of the library I never read.

Lincoln was not the only one to check out that BoM, in all the years it was there it was much more likely another reader dogeared that than him.

There are any number of ways anyone can speculate about information presented as a fact.  Timothy Ballard presents it as a hypothesis rather than a history, but he includes some actual evidence for us to think about, like the record showing when Abraham Lincoln checked out the Book of Mormon from the Library of Congress, and when he returned it.  Maybe God did inspire Abraham Lincoln to defeat slavery, as well as encourage and sign the 14th amendment, which gave Bill of Rights protections to all people throughout the USA. I like to think so.  And I do see him as a martyr for ending slavery, a blight on this Promised Land.  When Gov. Boggs signed the Extermination Order, it was a legal order under States Rights.  The 14th Amendment changed all that, having a direct bearing on the LDS Church.  Abraham Lincoln did that.  I didn't know that before.  I want to read the book and maybe some other Lincoln history..

Many people enjoy historical fiction.  Gives one something to think about.  Perhaps Ballard's speculation is the right one.  

hy·poth·e·sis
hīˈpäTHəsəs/
noun
noun: hypothesis; plural noun: hypotheses
  1. a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.
    "professional astronomers attacked him for popularizing an unconfirmed hypothesis"
Edited by Meerkat

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Robert F. Smith
      A symposium on "EGYPT AND THE OLD TESTAMENT" will be held at the Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst, Gabelsbergerstr. 35, Munich/München, Germany, on 6-7 Dec 2019.
      The proceedings will be published as ÄAT (AEGYPTEN UND ALTES TESTAMENT) volume 100.
      More on the symposium can be found at https://www.freunde-abrahams.de/aegypten-und-altes-testament/  .
      ÄAT's spectrum covers the philological, art historical, and archaeological branches of Egyptology, as well as Old Testament exegesis, the archaeology, glyptics and epigraphy of Israel/Palestine and neighboring regions such as Sinai and Transjordan, literature and history of religions, from the Bronze Ages up to Greco-Roman and early Christian periods, as well as relevant aspects of research history.
       
    • By Bernard Gui
      At the end of Alma 37, Alma gives his final instructions to his faithful young son Helaman. After encouraging him always to be obedient to God’s commandments and to pray to God continually, Alma uses the Liahona as an object lesson to teach Helaman how to obtain eternal life through following the words of Christ. Using analogy, Alma compares the Liahona, the temporal compass provided by God to Lehi, with the words of Christ, the spiritual guide provided to all by God. In this remarkable passage, Alma, like all good teachers, repeats this image three times, and like a good Nephite teacher, he uses a parallelism to increase the impact.
      Alma employs the alternate parallel form, one of the most common and effective forms of poetic parallelism in the Book of Mormon. It appears hundreds of times. An alternate consists of two or more lines that are repeated in parallel order. The simple alternate form is outlined ABAB. Extended alternates are outlined ABCABC, etc. 
       Alma uses three extended alternates in rapid sequence to instruct his son. 
       A   For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, 
          B   which will point to you 
              C   a straight course to eternal bliss, 
      A   as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, 
           B   which would point unto them 
               C   a straight course to the promised land.
      The A phrase compares the ease of heeding the words of Christ with the ease of looking at the Liahona. The B phrase describes the purpose of A which is to point the course. The C phrase declares the final destination of those who follow A, salvation and arrival at the promised land.
       A   For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, 
         B   by following its course, 
             C   to the promised land, 
      A   shall the words of Christ, 
         B   if we follow their course,
             C  carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.
      The A phrase again compares the words of Christ with the Liahona, but in reversed order. The B phrase indicates what we should do with A – follow their directions, and the C phrase gives the destination of those who do B – the promised land and a far better place, eternal life. 
       A   for so was it with our fathers; 
         B    for so was it prepared for them,
            C   that if they would look they might live; 
      A   even so it is with us.
         B   The way is prepared, 
            C   and if we will look we may live forever.
      In this last alternate, Alma personalizes the analogies of the first two. The A phrase compares the Nephite fathers (Lehi and Nephi) with Alma and his son Helaman. The B phrase indicates that God prepared the ways of direction for all of them. The C phrase compares the physical salvation of the Nephite fathers by following the Liahona with the spiritual salvation promised to all of us who will look upon Christ.
      Alma concludes his instructions with another impassioned fatherly plea that his son rise to the greatness of his calling.
      This passage indicates deliberate logical planning on the part of Alma in giving crucial instructions to his son prior to his death. This is what Alma thought would be of most worth to his son - look to Christ. It gives us insight into the Nephite mind, especially that of a powerful and gifted leader. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the beautiful intricacies that await in its pages for us to discover. (Thanks to Donald Parry for his marvelous edition of the Book of Mormon. Poetic Parallelism in the Book of Mormon: The Complete Text Reformatted. Maxwell Institute, 2007).
       Your comments are welcomed. 
       Here is the passage in context.
       
    • By Five Solas
      1. Read the Book of Mormon
      2.  Ask God
      3. With a sincere heart
      4. With real intent
      5. Having faith in Christ
      Failure is not an option, if you believe Moroni.  First, you must read.  Next, you must follow with prayer while meeting his remaining 3 prerequisites.  Then the truth of the Book of Mormon will be manifested to you.  Full stop.
      Therefore if the truth is not manifested, the reason is as plain as the nose on your face: One or more of the prerequisites were not met.  There is no alternate possibility.  "It’s very simple"—as President Trump is fond of saying in his press conferences.
      5 possible ways to fail, and only 5.  So here is a question:  With LDS Church growth stalling and 70+% of millennials going inactive/leaving the LDS Church by age 20 (courtesy of Mormonleaks), which of the 5 do you think represents the greatest challenge?  Or are they all equally challenging?  Or do you think it's some combination of them that present difficulty?
      And while we’re on the question, how exactly does one go about achieving the last three prerequisites?  Would any LDS seriously admonish an investigator to read the Bible first in order to attain “faith in Christ” prior to attempting the Book of Mormon?
      --Erik
      _____________________________________________
      For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
      --H.L. Mencken
    • By hope_for_things
      Where did the Book of Mormon come from.  I constantly hear this idea argued from both apologetic and critical sides.  All in an attempt to explain how Joseph could have produced the Book of Mormon.  Yet, when it comes right down to it, both sides should be able to agree on some pretty basic historical facts from the evidence.  
      Joseph Smith dictated the content of the BoM to some scribes Nearly everyone should be able to agree on that statement, and I think that really explains it in a nutshell.  I was thinking about other figures in history that are revered for things they produced.  Newton, Einstein, Beethoven, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc.  Do anyone else spend so much time asking where they came up with their masterpiece works?  Where did Einstein get that amazing theory of relativity?  Where did Michelangelo get that amazing statue of David.  How could they have possibly produced these things?  Where did they come from?  
      I think we spend so much time looking for evidence, trying to find parallels, seeking to understand where the BoM came from, that we are missing the answer right in front of our faces and we should all be able to agree on.  The BoM came from Joseph Smith.  This is the clear and straightforward answer that both believers and nonbelievers should be able to agree on, and its the simple answer to a highly debated question.  
    • By Robert F. Smith
      Annalee Newitz, “Most scientists now reject the idea that the first Americans came by land,” Ars Technica, Nov 4, 2017, online at https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/11/majority-of-scientists-now-agree-that-humans-came-to-the-americas-by-boat/ , with map,
      Todd J. Braje, et al., “Finding the first Americans,” Science, 358/6363 (3 Nov 2017):592-594, online at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/358/6363/592 ,
      It now appears that coming to America by boat was normal even from earliest times.  There is no longer any reason to credit the Beringia Land Bridge hypothesis, except in a much later period.
×
×
  • Create New...